Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Childhood (09/03/09)
TITLE: Don’t Watch Me Mommy
By Debbie Roome
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She stops rolling out pastry. “I’ll walk you down the road.”
Mom looks surprised.
“I’m big enough to walk to Sarah’s house by myself. It’s only one block.”
“You are growing up, Abby, but it’s not safe for you to walk around by yourself.”
I roll my eyes and look heavenwards – an expression I learned from my teenage sister. “It’s just one block. I’ll call you when I get there.”
She seems less bossy now and I decide to try again. “I’ll walk by the houses and I won’t go near the road.” I lift my backpack over my shoulders. “I’ll call you in five minutes.”
“I’ll be fine.” I shout as I walk down the garden path. “And don’t watch me, Mommy. I’m not a baby.”
I feel free as I open the garden gate and step onto the sidewalk. The grass is soft and green and the sun is shining. It’s eight gateways to Sarah’s house and I’ve walked there a hundred times with Mom. I try to whistle but my lips still can’t get the sound to come out right. Instead I hum my favourite tune.
I’m walking past the third gateway when I hear a car slowing behind me. A man winds down the passenger window. “Excuse me, do you know where Lottering Street is?”
I feel worried inside. Mommy always tells me not to talk to strangers and I don’t know this man. I have a quick look at him. He has a big head with curly ginger hair and lots of teeth that are smiling at me. I keep walking and the car follows.
“Can you tell me what this road is then?” The worried feeling gets worse. Mom also says I mustn’t be rude. I slow down and take one step towards the car. “This is Taylor Street.” I tell him.
He smiles again but it’s a creepy smile, full of crooked teeth. “That’s very helpful, thank you.” I look back at the houses. I’m by gateway four now and start walking again.
“Would you like a chocolate for helping me?” He holds a Triple Deck up to his car window.
How did he know those are my best chocolates ever? I imagine biting through gooey raspberry, chocolate and vanilla. Mmm. I’ll just grab it and run. I tell myself. Mommy will never know.
“Come and get it, sweetheart.”
The man is sweating. I can see the drops on his face as I get closer and closer to him. I’m glad he’s not my daddy.
“That’s it, dear.” He waves the Triple Deck out the window.
As I reach out my hand, I hear a gate bang and the man does too. He jerks his head to look behind him.
“Abby! Abby!” Mommy is running down the street faster than I’ve ever seen her run.
The man drops the chocolate and it falls on the road as he takes off, smoke pouring from his tyres.
Mom throws her arms around me and picks me up. “Are you alright, Abs?”
There’s a funny feeling in my tummy. The man was a stranger and I shouldn’t have talked to him or wanted to take his chocolate. The feeling comes out of my eyes in tears and Mommy wipes them away.
“I got such a fright, Abby.”
She’s shaking and that makes me scared. “I’m sorry, Mommy. I didn’t listen to you.” I lay my head on her shoulder and it smells of pastry and clean washing; of safety and home.
We stand like that for a long time, until my eyes stop crying and Mommy stops shaking. Then I tell her the thought that’s going round and round in my heart. “I’m glad you were watching me, Mommy. I’m not as grown up as I thought I was.”
She kisses the top of my head. “I’ll always be watching out for you, Abby. That’s just how mommies are.”
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